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Think then drink

Underage drinking is common, Lasso reporter informs students how to drink smart

Amanda Hall, Reporter

Spring Break is just around the corner, and students are excited to go on vacation, see their family and in some cases, party. For the underage college students out there, I’m going to give you the big sister talk before you enjoy your spring break partying. My goal is that you will be safe during spring break, and if you do choose to drink, at least do it responsibly.

First, I need to note that I am not condoning underage drinking. It’s illegal in the state of Texas to drink under the age of 21. TWU upholds and enforces the state laws regarding underage drinking. However, I know it happens. According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2013, 23 percent of individuals aged 12 – 20 years old drink alcohol, while 14 percent have had an episode of binge drinking in the last 30 days.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 42 percent of college students drink at least 1 day during spring break and 11 percent drink until passing out. Eleven percent of college students… that’s more than a little alarming.  As one of the signs of alcohol poisoning is unresponsiveness, potentially 11 percent of college students experience alcohol poisoning during Spring Break.

In Texas, and 31 other states, you are protected from prosecution by a medical amnesty policy. In 2009, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) released a statement that they had established a Medical/Good Samaritan Amnesty policy. The policy’s aim is to reduce deaths caused by underage drinking and young people not calling 911 because they are worried about getting in trouble. TABC stated: “It is the policy of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that our agents will not cite minors for the illegal possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages if an individual seeks assistance because of a medical emergency or because a person has been a victim of sexual assault or other violent crime.”

For those of you who haven’t heard, TABC states the signs of alcohol poisoning: “Person cannot be roused/unconscious, person appears confused or in a stupor, no response to pinching the skin, vomiting while sleeping, seizures, slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute), irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths), low body temperature (hypothermia), bluish skin color or paleness.” Without prompt medical attention, alcohol poisoning can result in death.

So you and your underage friend go to party this Spring Break and against better judgement, you decide to drink. Later, you find your friend, and she has signs of alcohol poisoning. You’ve heard it can result in death, so what do you do? You call 911.

Now you know the signs of alcohol poisoning and about the medical amnesty policy. So there is no reason for anyone to die this spring break due to alcohol poisoning. On that note, let’s also avoid alcohol-related car accidents. Either have a designated driver, or get the Uber app. Just don’t drink and drive. I hope that you have learned something from this, now go have a terrific, safe and responsible Spring Break.

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